WOMEN

There’s Something Missing From This Photo Of Late-Night TV Hosts

Vanity Fair features no women, lots of whiskey.

If you needed any more proof that late-night TV is still a man's world, look no further than Vanity Fair. Ten men in suits (8 of whom are white) sit sipping whiskey for a recent story, under the headline "Why Late-Night Television Is Better Than Ever." The answer certainly is not diversity of any kind.  

It's common knowledge that late-night is something of a boys' club. After all, there are exactly zero women hosting late-night shows on major networks right now. And women who are involved with late-night, like Grace Helbig, who replaced Chelsea Handler on E!, are nowhere to be found on Vanity Fair's cover. 

And it's not just the hosting gigs that primarily go to men. The majority of staff writers on late-night TV shows are -- you guessed it -- of the dude (and pale) persuasion. Even Stephen Colbert -- who wrote an essay for Glamour which acknowledged that late-night is "a bit of a sausagefest" and detailed how he hopes to celebrate women's voices -- only has 2 women on his writing staff of 19

The 100 percent male, 80 percent white Vanity Fair image didn't go unnoticed by women and men on Twitter, who began calling out how tone-deaf it was:

Even comedian Samantha Bee, who is getting her own show on TBS in 2016, took notice of the image and kindly improved it.

The men featured in the Vanity Fair story are generally excellent comedians. It's great to celebrate the accomplishments of men like Stephen Colbert, Jon Stewart and Larry Wilmore, while looking forward to seeing what newcomers like Trevor Noah might do. But the Vanity Fair piece doesn't even acknowledge the staggering gender gap until its final two paragraphs.

"What’s conspicuously missing from late-night, still, is women," writes David Kamp. "How gobsmackingly insane is it that no TV network has had the common sense -- and that’s all we’re talking about in 2015, not courage, bravery, or even decency -- to hand over the reins of an existing late-night comedy program to a female person?"

It's heartening to see this called out, and to see Bee and Handler, who are getting their own 2016 shows on TBS and Netflix respectively, receive shout-outs. But it's not quite enough. Here's hoping next time a major publication does a story like this one, diversity will be more than a kicker. 

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